The CBO scores the revised Better Care Reconciliation Act

On Monday, when Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran withdrew their support of the Senate’s bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, the Better Care Reconciliation Act was declared dead and buried by, well, frankly everyone, including the very author who is writing this article. On Wednesday, however, when Senate Republicans met to discuss their next move, Mitch McConnell pulled nothing short of a miracle and breathed new life into the controversial bill.

The Senate majority leader quickly backed away from his exceedingly unpopular repeal-and-wait-to-replace plan and instead opted to push for the Senate bill to be opened on the floor where amendments to entirely transform the document’s contents can be made in the moment. The vote will likely be held next week, but until then, it is unclear whether McConnell’s persuasions have made an impact on the four staunchly opposed senators.

As a result of the renewed interest in the legislation, another item to consider is, of course, the CBO’s scoring of the amended health bill, which was released early Thursday morning. The report was relatively short, a structural choice imputed to the fact that the nonpartisan group came to similar conclusions in its scoring of the original bill. The findings are nevertheless important, and they are as follows:

  • Because the bill retains two of the Affordable Care Act’s taxes, as well as makes sizable reductions to Medicaid, the bill will reduce the federal deficit by $420 billion (99 billion more than the original bill).
  • On the subject Medicaid, there will be a 26% reduction of federal spending on the program by 2026, which would likely lead to eligibility expansion being rolled back, as well as a cutback in services offered.
  • By 2026, 22 million more people will be uninsured than under current law; this number is unchanged from the one that was predicted for the original bill.
  • Premiums would increase under the legislation until 2020 before beginning to decrease, eventually reaching the point where they would be 30% lower than under current law. Older or sicker citizens, however, would generally pay higher premiums than young and healthy people.

For more information on the CBO’s scoring of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, please refer to one of our previous articles: